As part of British Science Week, 5-14 March we are celebrating DE&S Scientists and the ground-breaking work they do. Every day we will be publishing a ‘meet the scientist’ interview. Today, 11 March, meet Emily.

Environmental Practitioner, Emily

Name, Role/Post title(s):

My name is Emily, and I am an Environmental Practitioner within the Ships Environmental Centre of Expertise.

How long have you worked at DE&S?

I joined DE&S fresh from university in September 2019, which feels like forever ago but I’m really still quite new.

If you had to explain your job to a child, what would you say?

My job is to make sure that we can keep the world safe from the baddies without hurting the environment! Because there’s no point protecting us from the baddies if we destroy the environment while doing so.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you ‘grew up’?

At first, I wanted to be a consultant in A&E, after learning First Aid at Scouts and always being the one to look after my siblings if they hurt themselves. But when I joined the Royal Navy Recognised Sea Scouts and had the chance to do summer camps on HMS Bristol, that’s when I knew I wanted to join the Royal Navy. Sadly that didn’t work out, but I’ve come full circle working in the position I am now.

What’s the most exciting thing you’ve done in your job?

Being so new in my career, there aren’t many ‘exciting’ opportunities that I’ve had yet. But, being a core member of the newly formed Ships Environmental Centre of Expertise and a driving force behind the new Ships Environmental Management System, means that I’m paving the way for environmental management to come to the forefront and prove that you can protect the environment without losing the defence capability.

What’s the most interesting development in Science, or STEM more generally, right now?

There’s two that spring to mind:

  1. It’s hard to ignore Covid-19 as it’s plastered all over the news and social media and internal comms as we fight our way through. So regardless of opinions on the way it was handled, the development of the vaccine and the collaboration between scientists, institutes and nations to help end the pandemic has been fascinating. It’s leading the way for new research into other diseases, inspiring hope into the community, and it’s been incredible to follow.
  2. Closer to my personal interests, developments in the marine science and engineering sector have been growing as we navigate our way to Net Zero 2050. From carbon sequestration initiatives to alternative fuels, there’s so much going on to reduce our marine carbon emissions and some really creative thinking going into coming up with solutions to this major issue.

What would you say to someone considering a career in STEM?

STEM is such a broad and varied sector so there’s bound to be something out there for everyone. For me, I picked a subject I loved (Marine Science) and followed it from undergraduate into postgraduate. While my knowledge is quite niche, my skillset is highly transferrable into many different roles; my advice is to do something you love, broaden your skillset and see everything as a learning experience personally or professionally. And good luck!

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